Friday, May 17, 2013

Aznar, the Falangist

Anyone who thinks that only the unity of Spain is at stake is mistaken. Before that comes the integrity of Catalonia. That is the position defended in a speech by José-Maria Aznar (former President of Spain) at an event held by the Foundation for Social Studies and Analysis (FAES), before Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, at which he demanded constitutional amendments to cut short the “disloyalty, blackmail and threats” which he claims Catalan ambitions of sovereignty really are. “Any formula, whether federal, confederate or whatever form questioning Spanish national sovereignty, is unfeasible”. “Catalonia cannot stay together unless it remains united to Spain” he sentenced. He added that Spain “will not break up”, that this could only happen “if Catalonia first suffered rupture as a society, as a culture and as a tradition.”
At this point, nobody should be surprised by the substance of the sword-rattling, Serbian tones of this former Spanish Prime Minister and chief right-wing ideological guru broadcast from the FAES platform, of the rampant, aggressive Spanish jingoism permeating the entire range of Spain's political system, all the way through to Cayo Lara's communist left. Mr. Aznar is the main bulwark of the far-right's ideological predominance in Spain.
Although we may already be familiar with this character, it will not be gratuitous if we chronicle his background with a few select quotations:
• “The Young Falangists are sick of giving and not receiving; we are tired of hearing promises and receiving failures; tired of pretty speeches that are only good for creating more confusion than there already is, to show the true face of those who make them.” “I, as a youth, having read a copy of the Complete Works of José Antonio Primo de Rivera , have made up my mind.” (SP Magazine, 1969 )
• “When you are in the fifth or sixth year of bachillerato (High School), you are either a bit revolutionary, or you are nothing.” (Referring to his studies in youth when he described himself as an independent falangist.  Jerusalem, April 10, 1995)
• “I suppose I was in front of the television, waiting for the news of his death, because at 22, which is how old I was then, I was studying, which is what you should be doing when you're lucky enough to be a student.” (Referring to the death of Franco. Costa Rica, Sept. 19, 2000)
• “Winds of vengeance is what some recently constituted city councils seem to be bringing. The streets named after Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera] and [the dictator] Franco will henceforth be named after the Constitution. In Valencia, the Plaza del Caudillo [one of General Franco's many titles] will be called País Valencià. And this has but begun. They are erasing history.” (Newspaper La Nueva Rioja. May 9, 1979)
• “The consensus has provoked a stunning effect, a lack of confidence of a huge mass of Spaniards in the proper working of the democratic system, which was made palpably obvious in the enormous abstention in the past referendum.” (La Nueva Rioja, Feb. 18, 1979)
• “What does Parliament have to do with [the man in] the street?” (La Nueva Rioja, July 25, 1979)
• “The way the Constitution is written, the Spanish do not know if ours will be a free-market economy or, on the contrary, will slide down the dangerous slopes of statism and socialism, whether we will be able to chose the education of our children freely or if we are heading towards a single school system, whether the right to life will be properly defended, etc.” (La Nueva Rioja, Feb. 23, 1979)

Where does this right-wing Castilian imperialist draw his convictions?
The trail is easy to follow. Obviously, as he himself acknowledges, from the Falange and from its founder, José Antonio Primo de Rivera. But furthermore, from the proto-falangism of Ramiro Ledesma and Onésimo Redondo's Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista. Here we find the connection, not insignificant, in Aznar's decision to spend his holidays in Quintanilla de Onésimo (an equivalent might be holidaying in a village in the Lake District in the UK or the Appalachians in the States).
Well, the village formerly known as Quintanilla de Abajo, renamed by Franco as de Onésimo because it was Redondo's home town, is thirty-five kilometres from the city of Valladolid. It has always been held by the right, excepting a hiatus between 1987 and 1991 when it was governed by the PTE, a party created by venerable communist Santiago Carrillo. A referendum might have been held then to change the name back, but it never was even though it was one of the proposals in the PTE campaign. For in that year, 1987, in addition to municipal elections there were also regional polls that were won by José María Aznar's Alianza Popular (the predecessor of Prime Minister Rajoy's Partido Popular), and the place he chose to spend his summers was this village in Valladolid province, precisely because it was symbolic for the Castilian-falangist tradition.
Aznar's sanctification of Onésimo leads us to the roots of his thinking. Who was Onésimo Redondo ?
Studying in Germany at the time of the rise of the Nazi party, he was instilled with their ideas and he founded the Juntas Castellanas de Actuación Hispánica (Castilian Groups of Hispanic Action) which rejected democratic systems and advocated direct action against Marxism, Jews, and bourgeois capitalism. He later joined Ledesma Ramos to create the Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista (JONS, Unions of the National-Syndicalist Offensive), which in turn merged in 1934 with Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera's Falange Española to become FE-JONS. Through Libertad, their weekly publication, they defended their totalitarian, corporatist ideas, praising violence and the armed struggle against their left-wing ideological opponents. He organized paramilitary groups in Valladolid province, which joined the military uprising that led to the Spanish Civil War. Over the years these armed groups and patrols were responsible for the repression and killing of leftists. Within days of the start of the war, Onésimo Redondo was killed in an encounter with militiamen from Madrid upon a visit to the front, in the town of Labajos in Avila province on July 24, 1936.
Oh! And he translated, with comments, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion  (Valladolid, Ediciones Libertad, 1932) and left as literary legacies Onésimo Redondo, Caudillo de Castilla (fragments from news articles and political speeches (Valladolid, Ediciones Libertad, 1937) and El Estado Nacional. Valladolid, Ediones Libertad, 1938).

Read this article in French

Josep Huguet Biosca, former Minister of the Government of Catalonia (2004-2010).
President of the Irla Foundation.
Industrial engineering.

More from the same author:
Game Over
For Democracy in Southern Europe
Those old Saint George days in the sixties
The Challenges for Catalan Society

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